1. When he shields your eyes from the morning sun.
“We were on the couch and I fell asleep. After a little bit, the sun started streaming in the window…I woke up to his hand shielding my eyes from the sun. Always thought that was a sweet gesture.”
2. When he pulls the covers over you and kisses your cheek when he thinks you’re asleep.
“When he pulls the covers over you and kisses your cheek when he thinks you’re asleep.”
3. When he buys you peanut M&Ms.
“He makes small kind gestures. Like buying you peanut M&Ms.”
4. When he makes you coffee even though he doesn’t drink coffee.
“My boyfriend bought a coffee maker for when I stayed over. He doesn’t drink coffee. One morning I was leaving and he came running outside to give me a hot cup for my drive. Yep, he’s pretty great.”
5. When you can cry in front of each other.
“He can cry in front of you and you can cry in front of him.”
6. When he cooks dinner for you every day, even though you didn’t ask him to.
“If he enthusiastically cooks dinner for you every day, even if you didn’t ask him to, he’s definitely a keeper.”
7. When he does something nice for you and doesn’t expect something nice/booty in return.
“Does something nice for you and doesn’t expect something nice/booty in return.”
8. When you can argue with him and still get along.
“When you have a big argument, but it doesn’t affect the things you normally do for each other.”
9. When you can argue with him and then feel closer than ever.
“If you can have a disagreement in a relationship and feel safe and secure during it and closer at the end of it. I talked to an older couple recently who’ve been married for 50 years and they said the key to a long and successful relationship is just to be nice to each other. That, and 20 second hugs every morning.”
10. When he helps you bury your dog.
“We were about a year into our relationship when my dog passed away. I was of course devastated and my boyfriend insisted on coming with me even though he hadn’t slept in about 30 hours. We got to my parents’ house, it was raining and miserable. I wanted to bury her in the backyard but with all the rain it was just impossible for me to do. He ended up in just his jeans and socks scooping the clay/mud mixture out by the handful (shovel was pretty much useless). At one point my dad said something along the lines of ‘you didn’t sign up for this did you?’ And he responded with, ‘I signed up for anything in her life.’ Both I and my parents knew he was a keeper that day. It’s been six years and happily going strong.”
11. When he would rather be honest with you and risk upsetting you than lie to you.
“I say this within reason, of course there are probably a dozen exceptions or exaggerations to this that wouldn’t apply, but:
If he would rather be honest with you and risk upsetting you than lie to you.
Someone who is willing to tell the truth even if it means a bad outcome for them is a special kind of person. It’s easy to keep someone happy with lies.”
12. When you can feel how much he cares and hurts to see you hurt.
“When you are going through something rough and he listens and comforts you without judgment. When you can feel how much he cares and hurts to see you hurt.”
13. When he is your friend as well as your partner.
“He surrounds himself with good people, helps others without expecting anything in return, and is your friend as well as your partner.”
14. When he brings you breakfast in bed ‘just because.’
“He does things ‘just because,’ without an ulterior motive.
When my then boyfriend, now husband, woke up early to bring me breakfast I said ‘What’s the occasion?’ And he said ‘No occasion. Just because.’ I knew he was a keeper.
Every once in a while he still does things like drop by my work with flowers, vacuum the carpets, draw me a warm bath, just because. Glad I kept him. ;)”
15. When he’s kind to animals.
“I’ve mentioned this one before but when I first started dating my SO, his brother’s bitchy girlfriend would leave her two ancient, crippled dogs with him when they would go out of town. These poor things were on their last legs, blind, so arthritic they couldn’t even walk, and horribly incontinent. But my SO never got upset or impatient with them. He would calmly clean up their poop and pee, carefully carry them outside and set them in the grass to try to get them to go, quietly talking to them all the while, like, ‘Uh oh, did you have another accident? It’s okay, let’s clean it up… here you go buddy, have some food…’ Etc. I knew after witnessing that, that he was a total keeper.”
16. When you can be politely frank about his shortcomings without him having a meltdown.
“When you can be politely frank about his shortcomings without him having a meltdown, and likewise, when he is willing to be politely frank about your own shortcomings.”
17. When he’s honest even when it’s hard to be or he knows I won’t like it.
“For me, he’s honest even when it’s hard to be or he knows I won’t like it. I respect nothing more than honesty. Another thing is willingness to be a part of my family and come visit them with me, and understand how important they are to me even though I don’t always get along with them.”
18. When he faces life’s toughest challenges with dignity.
“My boyfriend has had a plethora of health issues throughout the majority of his life (cancer, chronic kidney disease & 2 kidney transplants just to name a few). I was with him when he went through his second one and we were both just teenagers who had only been together a year and a half or so.
We’ve been together 9.5 years now…I’ve seen how he handles the mental and physical strain that all these issues have held, plus all the other things that are bound to happen when you’ve been in a relationship as long as we have. I’ve never seen someone have so much courage and positivity throughout every single punch his 24 (almost 25) years of life has hit him with. Even through it all I’m still the first thing on his mind, along with his family as well as my own.
He’s the bravest guy I know and has a heart of gold. :)”
19. When he listens to what you say and remembers it.
“I think it is in the tiny details. For example, the guy I am seeing now listens to what I say and remembers it. When I met him I told him I don’t like Thing 1, and he remembers it still. It is also in the way he shows he respects you. I also find that being able to have a full conversation about both serious and fun stuff, shows ‘compatibility.’ And if he is interested in your interests, that is also a sure sign. And acceptance of who you are and what you do and what you look like, and someone that makes you feel good, even when you’re feeling like a 1 ton truck that day.”
20. When he isn’t afraid to be vulnerable around you.
“I know my boyfriend is a keeper because of a few things:
he isn’t afraid to be vulnerable around me and cries watching sad movies with me more than i do.
he’s nice and polite to everyone, but isn’t afraid to stand up when people are rude (we’re a mixed race couple, people can be real jerks about it).
i had a couple bad days and he spent them holding me and just being by my side without asking any questions.”
21. When he makes sure you have a pillow even after you’ve had an argument.
“I was over at my boyfriend’s house and my boyfriend and I got into a pretty bad argument because of something I did and he was really pissed, so we didn’t talk for the rest of the night. I didn’t have my house keys so we slept on opposite sides of the bed, and I didn’t have a blanket. Well in the middle of the night I felt him put a blanket over me and put my head on a pillow, that’s how I knew.”
22. When he takes care of you when you’re sick.
“I remember when we first got together, I got a really bad kidney infection. I was in so much pain it was unreal. He took me to the ER and waited with me for hours. Since we weren’t married at the time and had no relation, they did not allow him to go to the hospital ICU room with me. But for the hours I was back there he constantly asked the nurses how I was doing and if there was anything I needed. I dunno, no one has ever done that for me. He’s done many other things but that was the first memorable event that automatically made me think he was a keeper.”
23. When he’s genuinely patient.
I grew up in a loud, hectic and often violent home. whenever I made a mistake, like spilled something, it was like the world was falling apart and I would get so angry and flustered, and he taught me that it’s not a big deal. Even when I lashed out at him for doing the same, he never threw it in my face like ‘when you do this, I never shout at you,’ he showed me through example. It took some time, but now if something is dropped, broken, forgotten about, any mistakes, I’m the most chilled person about it (unless it’s super important then I sorta revert, but that’s just how I react to stress)
That’s just one example, but in general, he makes me a better person.
And to continue with the ‘patience’ point, he never gets frustrated with children or animals because he knows they’re trying their best or don’t understand. He never takes it personally like I see a lot of people do. Doesn’t matter if the dog we’re looking after pisses on the floor, or if our nephew is throwing a tantrum, he never lets it get to him, never gets mad or shouts, because he has empathy, compassion and patience.”
24. When he believe you can do it, even if your parents don’t.
“My parents are lovely people but have never really believed in me. When they heard I was going to do a Masters my bf was in the kitchen with them at their house and they were talking about it, questioning whether or not I would be ‘able’ to do it. I overheard him say, politely but firmly, ‘if anyone can do it, she can.’ He wasn’t trying to insult them, he was just stating his belief in me. It shocked the both of them into silence. He didn’t hesitate, he didn’t bat an eyelid, just sat there solid as a rock maintaining eye contact with them and carried on being the pleasant guy he is. I don’t think I’d ever experienced that kind of loyalty before in my life. 14 years of marriage later and he still loves me more loyally and fiercely than anything I’ve ever known. I didn’t know how much I’d missed it until I met him.”
25. When he learns from his mistakes.
“When you talk to them about something that bothers you and they actually never do that thing again.”
26. When he’s gentle with you, always, no matter what mood he’s in.
“When he’s gentle with you, always, no matter what mood he’s in.
When he’s patient enough to reassure you again and again that he’s not going anywhere.
When he stays up late to fix the problem instead of just going to sleep thinking that “she’ll get over it in the morning”.
When you feel like you can tell him anything and everything, without worrying if he would judge you or think any less of you.
It’s so rare to find a guy as patient as that, and I’m really glad to have found someone like that in my SO. Definitely a keeper :)”
27. When actually listens to you and remembers what you say.
“He actually listens to you and remembers what you say.
Also, generosity is a must. Not only does it show he’s got his ish together but it shows he is incredibly kind to waiters/waitresses, friends, family, etc. Not a pushover who will give money to anyone but someone who has the means and the desire to treat others and/or give back to the community.”
28. When you two can just sit and play a new videogame together and just enjoy it.
“When you two can just sit and play a new videogame together and just enjoy it. No need for sex or anything (I won’t mind if it escalates) but just general enjoyment around each other. Other than is him having a clear view of what he wants in the future.”
29. When he stands by you no matter how hard or difficult life gets.
“When he stands by you no matter how hard or difficult life gets. I am very thankful for my man he has been their with me standing by me taking it step by step after my injury. That is when I realized how thankful I was to have him in my life! Life is short I take a moment several times a day regardless of how frustrated i get to say I Love you to him. I know it hurts to break up or fall in love with a guy then find out that he isn’t feeling the same way about you. But you sometimes gotta put your guard down and trust. You never know what you might have missed out on. By the way I am probably not the best person for advice since I have been homeless a few times in my life.”
30. When he loves spoiling you.
“Oh gosh where do I begin with my boyfriend? He always puts me first. He loves spoiling me-I thought getting back rubs and foot massages and breakfast in bed and little chocolates sometimes when he comes home from work were just honeymooning things. Four years in and he still does all of it. When I’m sad he plays with my hair and cuddles me. I get little messages throughout the day reminding me of how pretty and talented I am. He works so hard at his job and is always trying to improve himself, sets goals and gives his all in achieving them. Patient and kind and welcoming to everyone, especially those who need it most-he’ll sit and listen to you all day if that’s what you need, even if you’re a total stranger. Took care of his sick father for years while in high school despite making perfect grades and playing football. When we were first dating I told him due to some past experiences I would need to take it very slowly before I would be comfortable with him sleeping over or having sex. Never once pressured me or made me feel awkward, just a ‘oh of course!’ and kiss on the forehead. Completely devoted to my having a good time in the bedroom-considers it a personal affront if he has an orgasm and I don’t. He reaches out for me in the night, like this cute little arm reaching radar system, until he finds me and pulls me in to him with this cute little contented ‘yay I found her’ sigh.”
31. When he accepts the less appealing parts of you.
“Accepting the less appealing parts of you.
Unfortunately I had to break some less than exciting news for a guy that I had been talking to online and started dating when I realized I was getting very attached. On my 2nd date with him, we went hiking, had lunch, and went back to my place to play mortal combat. When we got to a dip in conversation, I asked him what was the worst thing that ever happened to him, and the best. He gave me very powerful answers. And then I gave him mine. I’d gotten herpes from an unfaithful partner the year prior. I tried to kill myself while in the most excruciating emotional and physical pain. It was more awful and violent than anything I’ve ever felt. But my roommate saved me. She took me to the hospital and proceeded to take care of me in the following weeks. She was the best thing that ever happened to me. I told him that I understood if he wasn’t interested anymore, it was a hell of a bomb to drop on the 2nd date. He asked what the chances were of him getting it, and if I was okay. We continued to see each other, he made note that red meat could cause outbreaks so he started cooking chicken and fish when I would come over. He knew that I loved coffee, but caffeine also increases the chance of outbreaks, so he got decaf to keep at his place. Now here we are, almost 2 years later. We have a house and a dog and a beautiful life together.
He has handled every challenged we’ve faced like a fucking champ.”
32. When he holds and soothes you when you’re crying.
“I realized the first time I stayed over at his. I had a really bad nightmare and burst into tears in my sleep. He gently woke me up and I could not stop crying. I must have looked a mess and he must have thought that I was crazy but he held me and soothed me. I feel so safe when I wake up next to him. We joke about our first night spent together and how I woke up crying-although I don’t think he has told any of his friends about it!”
33. When he’s willing to apologize and admit fault.
“Being willing to apologize and admit fault. Actions matching words. Being willing to be uncomfortable/put out when you’re in need (I.e.-staying up with you all night at the ER with a bad bout of food poisoning even though they have to work the next day).”
34. When he’s genuinely happy for you when something good happens to you.
“He really listens when you talk to him, and he knows when you want a possible solution to your problem(s), and when you just want to vent.
Rather than just giving you generic gifts, his gifts show that he’s been paying attention to you. Things you like, or have been talking about, or wanting to do, etc.
He speaks up when he feels that something is wrong, instead of waiting for a big blow-up. And he’s able to discuss the issue(s) at hand like a civilized adult.
He has his own life and friends; he’s not looking to you to fill some (real or imagined) void.
He knows that you give him your time/affection/sex/etc. because you want to; he knows you don’t owe him any of that. He doesn’t get all huffy or whatever if you’re not in the mood.
For him, there’s no ‘men’s work’ or ‘women’s work,’ just shit that needs to get done, one way or another.
He knows that you have ‘gross’ or ‘unsexy’ bodily functions, and he’s OK with that. He doesn’t think that you’re gross for having them, or think of leaving because he found out that gaspshockhorror! you poop/grow body and facial hair/fart/etc. He might not be turned on by it, but he accepts it as a fact of life.
On that note, he doesn’t hold you to a higher standard of behavior or appearance than he holds himself.
He doesn’t care how many people you have (or haven’t) slept with in the past. He knows that the past is the past, and doesn’t feel threatened by it; he knows that no matter what those previous partners might have looked like, or felt like, or what they might have had to offer, you’re not with any of them. You freely chose him, and you’re with him, right here and now…and he feels pretty damn good about that.
His goals, hopes, and dreams for the future align with yours. And he supports your aspirations and goals.
He’s genuinely happy for you when something good happens to you.
He’s learned to ‘adult’; he’s not looking for a ‘mommy’ or a meal-ticket. He takes care of what he needs to take care of.
He apologizes sincerely when an apology is called for, and takes responsibility for his actions.
He doesn’t invalidate or dismiss your feelings.
He does nice things without expecting anything in return.
He likes at least some of the same things you do.
He’s up for learning new things.
You can tell him anything.
He doesn’t think you’re above him, or below him; he respects you as an equal, as a partner in every sense of the word.
He loves and accepts you for who you are, just as you are, right here and now. He doesn’t try to change you, or “fix” you, or ‘improve’ you.
He knows that one day you (and he) will get older, wrinklier, pudgier, and maybe balder. And he’s OK with that.
He’s willing to grow and change with you; he knows you might not be the same person 5 years or even 5 months from now.
He trusts you. He doesn’t feel he has to snoop through your social media/emails/phone/etc. to prove you’re not cheating, and he trusts that you are the best person to make decisions about your life/body/career/etc., and can make those decisions.
He involves you in decisions that might affect you, or at least tells you about what he wants to do before he does it in these matters.”